If you see Blanche Verbeck Shores of Towanda today, wish her a happy 100th birthday.

When Blanche was born in Powell on Feb. 28, 1911, William Howard Taft was president of the United States. Also, many residences in Powell did not have electricity or telephone service.

Blanche, who is one of 17 children born to William and Laura Schrader recalls her parents often rented a horse and buggy when they wanted to take a trip into Towanda.

What a difference 100 years makes!

On Sunday, many of Blanche's relatives and friends showed up at an open house held at her residence at 128 N. Main St. in Towanda, where she has lived for more than 70 years. Part of the day's activities included Blanche speaking to some of her brothers and sisters who live in Florida via video camera over the Internet.

"It was sure nice to see things through the computer," Blanche said about the experience.

Blanche was first married to Kenneth Verbeck with whom she had two sons, Ralph Verbeck and William Verbeck. After Kenneth Verbeck died, Blanche married John Shores whom she met while working at Sylvania. The two remained married until John's death in 1971.

"It's a nice neighborhood," Blanche explained when asked why she's lived at her present address for so long. "All my friends are here."

Blanche said that when she was very young she worked for the Towanda Silk Mill. She worked there for 13 years, Blanche explained, and when it burned down she worked for 14 years at Sylvania - now GTP - drawing wire at the plant.

Blanche is also the first member of the North Main Street Birthday Club, an organization which, for the past 60 years, has celebrated birthdays of area residents.

Ralph Verbeck said that NBC newsman Willard Scott sent Blanche a birthday card in honor of her 100th birthday. William Verbeck said that - according to family research - they believe that Blanche is the oldest living Schrader in the area.

"I just want to thank you for all of the things you've done for me," Blanche said about her birthday.

C.J. Marshall can be reached at (570) 265-1630; e-mail: cjmarshall@thedailyreview.com.